Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum
Press Release

Private Spaces, Public Authority In Association With the City of Milwaukee Public Housing Authority

March 6 - June 7, 2015

By - Feb 18th, 2015 04:54 pm

Milwaukee, WI – The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Avenue, Milwaukee is pleased to present Private Spaces, Public Authority, on view March 6 – June 7, 2015 with an opening reception the evening of Friday, March 6, from 6:00 to 8:30 p.m. with a special members only preview from 5:30 to 6:00 p.m. The exhibition features architectural salvage from the former Elizabeth Plankinton mansion now in the collection of the City of Milwaukee Public Housing Authority and will include woodwork, ceramics and glass that broadly outlines Aesthetic era principles and designs. The objects come from local firms like Matthews Bros. as well as internationally known companies like J & J.G. Low Art Tile of Massachusetts, Belcher Mosaic Glass of New Jersey, and Hollins & Minton of Stoke-on-Trent, England. Opening night will feature a panel discussion on adaptive reuse featuring representatives from the fields of architecture, historic preservation, and city planning. Panel discussion will begin at 7:00 p.m.

Private Spaces, Public Authority Description
Built in the 1880s, the home designed for Elizabeth Plankinton on Milwaukee’s Grand Avenue followed the leading trends of that decade, appointed with ornament from America’s leading suppliers of interior decoration.  This was a decade when Aesthetic principles, encapsulated in the mantra “art for art’s sake,” reached their height in this country, having sailed across the Atlantic with Oscar Wilde, spread nationwide with his lecture tour that stressed the value of artful decoration.
                                                                                                          

The focus of this decorative impulse was the home.  Artists and designers, local and national, turned their attention to the seemingly prosaic: glass windows, ceramic tile, wallpapers, and even firebacks.  The moral and physical loci of the aesthetic home was the Hearth, and it is at the center of this display of architectural salvage, an exhibition organized in partnership with the Milwaukee Public Housing Authority, which owns the collection.

The exhibition, Private Space, Public Authority presents their collection of woodwork, metalwork, ceramics and glass that broadly outlines Aesthetic era principles and designs.  The objects come from local firms like Matthews Bros. and also internationally known companies like J & J.G. Low Art Tile of Massachusetts, Belcher Mosaic Glass of New Jersey, and Hollins & Minton of Stoke-on-Trent, England.

Tracing objects from their creation, to their private installation and subsequently to their de-installation and public salvage, Villa Terrace, itself a repurposed lakeside mansion, explores the possibilities of repurposing old things for new ways of living.

About the Villa Terrace
The Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum is an Italian Renaissance-style villa designed and built by architect David Adler in 1923. Originally the home of Lloyd Smith of the A.O. Smith Corporation and his family, the Museum features fine and decorative arts dating from the 15th through to the 18th centuries, wrought-iron masterpieces by Cyril Colnik, a formal garden and changing exhibitions. The Museum is located at 2220 N. Terrace Ave. Public hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 1-5 p.m.   General Admission:   $7/adult, $5/student, senior (62+) and veterans, Free for museum members, children 12 & under, and active military. More information available at (414) 271-3656 or visit us at www.villaterracemuseum.org.                                            

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